86-year-old victim takes the stand in Tippecanoe Co. jury trial

The jury trial for Jacob McDaniel is underway in Tippecanoe County. (WLFI Photo)
The jury trial for Jacob McDaniel is underway in Tippecanoe County. (WLFI Photo)

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — The 86-year-old man who was tied up, beaten and robbed in his home testified against his alleged attacker in court Wednesday, and Tippecanoe County jurors are learning more about their relationship.

Kenneth Nice told the court 21-year-old Jacob McDaniel was one of a dozen young troubled men he has helped in the past. McDaniel lived with Nice, until he kicked out McDaniel when Nice suspected he was on drugs.

Nice told the court McDaniel called him on Feb. 8 asking for money, but Nice only agreed to make him food.

When McDaniel came over to Nice’s home on Brick N’ Wood Drive, they talked for a while. But as Nice went to get a blanket, he says McDaniel attacked him from behind and knocked him out. Nice awoke with duct tape around his head, hands and ankles. He also had bleach poured all over him.

Jurors learned more about Nice and McDaniel and recorded jail conversations were a turning point in the trial Wednesday. Not only did the phone call help determine whether McDaniel broke his no contact order with Nice, but it gave jurors a chance to hear some of the manipulation prosecutors have been talking about.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to build a relationship with you again,” McDaniel said in a call to Nice from jail.

The jail system asks you to record your name so the person receiving the call can choose to accept. You hear McDaniel falsely identify himself as “Brendon” so Nice would answer his call.

Brendon is another “troubled” young man who Nice has previously helped. McDaniel and Brendon know each other and were both in jail when the phone call occurred.

The call began with McDaniel saying, “Ken, this isn’t Brendon.”

Then Nice responded, acknowledging the call is from McDaniel, “Jacob?”

McDaniel replies, “I’m sincerely sorry.”

Nice tells McDaniel he forgives him for what he did but brings the attack up in detail throughout the call, saying things like, “I could have died very easily, do you realize that?” and “I’m telling you this because if you don’t remember what you did, I think you should know.”

McDaniel denies having any recollection of the beating and robbery during the phone call. He says, “The drugs that I was on blacked me out, Xanex, I don’t remember none of it. All I remember is waking up, and then I was downtown arrested.”

Nice responds with, “I don’t hate you, but I have to hold you responsible because nobody forced you to take that drug.”

McDaniel tells Nice he loves him like a grandfather several times and proceeds to ask for money, claiming it would just be used for phone calls to Nice from jail.

At one point, the call times out so McDaniel calls back and says he had to borrow this phone call — claiming he needs his own money to make calls.

“Is there anyway you can help me with that?” asked McDaniel.

At first, Nice was very reluctant to give him money saying he’s made that mistake before. Nice suggested giving money to McDaniel’s father instead, so maybe he can buy the phone calls. But McDaniel didn’t want that, McDaniel claimed his dad was too stressed to handle that task.

“I’m technically broke,” said Nice. “All the doctors and everything, prosecutors say you have to pay me back for the medical bills. And I said, ‘How in the world would he be able to pay me back?'”

McDaniel agreed but still pleaded for money for phone calls, saying, “I just want to fix our relationship.”

He even asked Nice to lie for him.

“I could get in trouble if I call you,” said McDaniel. “If they ask you, just say no because I want to call you every day.”

Nice told McDaniel he would go down to the police station to drop the protective order. He also started to offer money.

“If I give you $20, how many phone calls will that get you?” asked Nice. “We better say goodbye before it kicks us off.”

The two agreed Nice would come to the jail to give him money for calls in the morning. McDaniel ended the call by saying he loved him and would talk to him the next day.

Closing arguments begin Thursday morning and a verdict is expected by the end of the day. We will continue to follow this case and have updates online at WLFI.com and on-air on News 18.